[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
Adding an authorized user to your credit card account comes with a few advantages. You can share your account with a trusted loved one, help them build credit, and even reap rewards as they use your card.
Some credit cards offer additional incentives in the form of authorized user bonuses—and here are our top three picks.
Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on dining and travel; one point per dollar on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Cardholders can rack up travel points by adding an authorized user.
For Authorized Users: If you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months, you’ll earn 5,000 bonus points. That’s up to $62.50 in redemptions when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Drawbacks: If you don’t travel often, this card won’t hold as much value.
Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It: Cash back enthusiasts get an extra boost when they add an authorized user.
For Authorized Users: If you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months, you’ll get a $25 cash back bonus.
Drawbacks: There are higher cash back rates available elsewhere.
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
Rewards: Three miles per dollar on Virgin Atlantic purchases; 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 20,000 bonus miles when you make your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $90
APR: Variable 13.24% to 20.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Virgin Atlantic customers get a solid incentive for adding users to their card.
For Authorized Users: You’ll earn 2,500 miles per authorized user for the first two users you add to your card. Miles can be redeemed for Virgin Atlantic flights, cabin upgrades, and much more through Virgin’s partner network.
Drawbacks: If you have another preferred airline, you should keep looking.
How to Choose a Card with an Authorized User Bonus
In most scenarios, you should consider your own credit card needs over those of potential authorized users. Choose a card that reflects your spending habits and provides rewards—such as cash back or travel redemptions—that are valuable to you.
Furthermore, adding an authorized user to your account should not be taken lightly. As the primary account holder, you are responsible for your credit card’s balance and activity. If an authorized user uses your card irresponsibly, you are liable for the ensuing balance and your credit could suffer. You should add an authorized user only if you consider them trustworthy and financially responsible.
With any card, closely evaluate the related fees and APR to ensure it’s a good fit for you and your authorized user. For example, if your authorized user frequently travels out of the country, you should avoid cards that charge foreign transaction fees.
What Credit Is Required for a Card with an Authorized User Bonus?
Rewards cards with authorized user bonuses usually require excellent credit. As the primary applicant, you—not the potential authorized user—will be evaluated. Before applying, you should check your credit score to verify you meet the card’s credit requirements. You can check your credit report for free at Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.